Local Hospitals Treating Heat-Related Illnesses - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Hospitals Treating Heat-Related Illnesses

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YAKIMA, Wash. - Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital saw a couple of patients with heat-related illnesses over the weekend.  One of them had heat exhaustion, another heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion can be treated at home, if you drink plenty of fluids and rest.  If you ignore the symptoms of heat exhaustion, experts say heat stroke can hit within 10 to 15 minutes.

"That's a true emergency." says Dr. Robert Johnson, an ER doctor at Memorial.  "We need to cool them down as rapidly as possible."

Doctors recently treated a patient with heat stroke, whose temperature came dangerously close to the point where permanent damage sets in.   "107 (degrees), you're definitely going to have brain injury." Johnson says.

Fatigue, nausea, dizziness and body cramps are signs of heat exhaustion.  If you can't get enough fluid down to help, you can go to the hospital for an I.V.

If you're suffering from heat stroke, those around you may notice you're acting strangely.  It's a person's mental state that gives it away.  "Combativeness, not knowing your environment.  There are more serious signs, coma, you can be unresponsive, or have seizure activity." Johnson says.

He recommends taking a look at the heat index before you head outside.  He says the heat index may show that's it's 105, but if you're in the sun, he says you could be standing in 120-degree heat.

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